Labeling People as a Form of Lack of Integrity

by Dr. David Gruder

Telling the truth lives at the heart of integrity. When spin passes truth we are all in trouble. When truth is embellished (or omitted) to support a position, this demonstrates lack of integrity.

One form of spinning the truth that particularly damages our ability to create solutions to our problems is using labeling as an excuse to dismiss well-intentioned people because they are paying attention to different aspects of our issues than we are. For instance, "x" is a conservative so whatever s/he says is nonsense; "y" is a liberal so we don’t have to listen to anything s/he says.

Beware of anyone — politicians, leaders, commentators, columnists, pundits, blog posters and other self-proclaimed truth-tellers who use a pejorative label for anyone who has a different perspective from them or who is articulating a different aspect of an issue than the aspect they want to focus on. Again, this is a form of lack of integrity, specifically societal integrity.

As common as it is, this mind set erodes the fundamental underpinnings of what makes democracy work. Some people will be tempted to counter that I am simply being an apologist for being politically correct. In today’s vitriolic and polarized political atmosphere, what I am saying is actually the opposite of being PC. Dismissing the perspectives of other well-intentioned people by giving them a label that those who agree with us will applaud us for using is actually a sick form of being "politically correct." It’s time to end this damaging form of PC!

What is it going to take for us to finally understand that labeling others as a way of dismissing them is an anti-democracy attitude? What is it going to take for us to finally realize that the underpinnings of democracy are based on an understanding that no one person, group ideology ideology is capable of seeing the whole picture?

I believe we live in a culture dominated not only by spin but by a refusal to join together to co-discover and co-create solutions based on synergy rather than polarization. Synergy is a problem-solving strategy that is based on the assumption that no single person, group or perspective grasps the entire picture. Synergy presumes that viable solutions only emerge when we dialoge from the assumption that YOU see a piece of the larger picture more clearly than I do, that I see a piece of the larger picture more clearly than you do, and that what this larger picture REALLY is can only emerge as a result of combining the core of what you see with the core of what I see.

Despite how desperately needed it is, this kind of co-discovery and co-creation process cannot occur in a culture ruled by spin in which one group pushes their own perspectives while bad-mouthing the perspectives of others who, because of their orientation, are more attuned to other equally important aspects of the larger picture that need to be addressed in order for truly viable and durable solutions to be co-created.

What is it going to take for us to rise up and demand that the rules of engagement be upgraded in these ways as a way of restoring integrity?

I invite you to do your part to help this occur. Take the Integrity Pledge today at www.IntegrityPledge.org.

To learn more about what integrity really is and how to embody it more in your life, read The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World.

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